Disease, Ren Faire and a Word on Writing

I can’t say that I’ve gotten terribly far on my writing since the last post, but some things are getting slowly figured out.

Mainly, what I’ve got going on health-wise. I don’t know just how long I’ve been having problems, but it’s most likely been the better part of nearly two years that I haven’t felt right. I started having panic attacks and insane anxiety a year ago. Last winter I was on depression meds and throughout that, though more-so this year, I’ve been dealing with crippling fatigue. As a writer and an artist in general, I’m so sick of the brain fog and not having the ambition to get anything done. An artist that can’t find the motivation to create makes for a very sad person. In June my doctor said that I initially tested positive for Lupus, but we’ve since found out that that was a false positive. Right now, the diagnosis stands at Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis – essentially an auto-immune disorder where your immune system attacks your thyroid and you more or less end up with Hypothyroidism. Not the greatest diagnosis ever – it’s something that I will have to deal with for the rest of my life – but it’s a definitive answer and a starting grounds for working to achieve a level ground where I feel better and can return to getting things done. I started a thyroid medication last week and have also undertaken a gluten-free diet. So far, I’ve felt pretty good, so let’s hope it holds.

Once again, haven’t gotten a terrible amount of things done, but right now it’s more a process of gathering together my projects and determining which I have the motivation for and what hold’s precedence.

And that is definitely writing.

Even on that front, I guess I haven’t been quite as lazy as I had originally thought. The chapter for the second novel that I felt like I had been writing for ages ended up being 21 pages long. I’ve written one more subsequent chapter for that novel and have since finally put the second book aside for right now. I’ll admit that with everything going on and spending more days sleepy rather than motivated I didn’t manage to finish the section that I had previously spoken of wrapping up before moving on. But, that’s okay, as I’ve since decided, due to thoughts of the second book still fresh in my mind, that I’m still doing NaNoWriMo this year, but I will save the fifth book for another year and work on the second. I know that NaNoWriMo is meant to challenge authors to write 50,000 words of a new novel, but there are no definitive rules. To me, the main point of National Novel Writing Month is to do just that: Write. And I most certainly have another 50,000 words in me for Isle of Hell. If all goes well, granted I get my motivation back by then (I certainly hope so!) then I just may even be able to finish the first draft for the second novel. What an excitement that would be! I would then be able to use my CreateSpace coupon to print that out just because, especially since I already have a cover idea in mind for that.

Speaking of printed books, I don’t think I ever posted a picture on here of my printed copies. My writing in general isn’t the only thing that’s been suffering throughout trying to come to a diagnosis. Regardless, as promised, some months ago:

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I even got my map in there, looking all nice. So relieved about that, because I was thinking beforehand that I would have to redo it entirely to make it look nicer. But, apparently, I had nothing to worry about as it looks great.

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Once again, this is only what I’m calling my ‘test copies’ and really they’re not even that. These are a random printing of my first draft. I initially had them printed because I didn’t want to go another year letting my CreateSpace coupon for two free printed copies to go to waste. And, because I wanted to see just how long this thing really would be. I’ve definitely created a weapon – over 500 pages. Also, it’s a very different feeling to have something I’ve worked on for eight years in print, actually able to pick it up and see what I’ve accomplished. Not to mention, it does seem to change the ways people look at you as a ‘writer’. I honestly wasn’t expecting the response I’ve gotten from it or the rabid interest. I guess that I had just gotten used to the people going, “Oh, you’re writing a book? That’s nice” when you tell them you plan on being an author. Apparently, having an actually copy to wave around makes it all the more real and shows people that you aren’t just words; you’re lots of words on a printed page. It’s just really neat to see the response to something tangible as opposed to just the idea. It just leaves me wanting to finish the final draft and get it printed all the more, especially since I’ve had a ton of people wanting to buy it.

If I can get all my medical issues straightened out and actually working daily on it again, I’m really hoping for a Winter release, maybe as early as December, though I’m definitely not going to rush it. One thing I learned from printing the test copies, is that formatting is a lot of work, especially if you’re going to undertake the self-publishing route all on your own. I actually quite like the detailed process of it, but it’s certainly not something you can do in one day, especially when you’re novel is as long as mine.

So, second book set aside for the time being, and a renowned motivation to work on the first, I’ve spent the last few days rereading what I had already rewritten and revised last year for the first novel. I’ve got about another 50 pages to finish up to get be back to where I left off and hopefully I can jump right back into the writing. Though I’m definitely going to rework and tighten up the remainder of the first draft, I’m already over halfway (something I didn’t realize until I saw it in print) and there’s really only one more section that I want to fully rewrite from scratch. So, hopefully the remainder of the book won’t take as long as the first half. We will see. I might even play around with the idea of adding a few illustrations as title headers, granted I find the time, the motivation and the talent.

Now, as this post is getting long, one last thing:

This weekend marks my return to the Renaissance Festival and I’m extremely excited about that! I really wish that the festival went on all throughout the year, but if there’s any place in the world to help me regain my imaginative spark, Holly Grove would be it.Not only do I revel in the atmosphere down there, but the Holly Ren Fest in particular is what the Ren Fest of Fireswell in my novel is directly based upon. I’ll admit, I’m a mixture of lazy and still enamored by my outfit from last year and plan on reusing my Warrior Fae costume. Though, I do have some elf ears and some grey contacts to add to it this year.

The good news through all of this, if you’ve managed to slog through all the writing, is that I can tell just from this blog post that I’m starting to regain much of my motivation. Writing just feels good again and second nature, as it should. So, look for a lot more to come in the next few months.

All that said, I leave you with one last picture that I took of a test run of my warrior fae a few nights ago during the full moon. Still working to understand my new camera, but I LOVE this picture.

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The Last Huzzah!

So, yesterday was my last day at the Ren Fest this year. I had so much fun this year, but I have to admit, I’m sad that it’s over. I feel more and more like the main character of my story – Fura – every time I go because it seems that each time the festival feels like home to me. Despite how crowded it can get, it’s the atmosphere – the festivities, the music that floats through the air, the smells of food, the shows and the seemingly endless supply of artisan wares that just makes me never want to leave. One way or another I’m bound and determined to spend as much time as I possibly can down there next year, whether it be volunteering to work there, finding the money to buy a season pass, or having my book ready to sell at a booth.

Taking in all the people that pass through – I think I divided it out last year to an average of 10,000 people a weekend – I should have a relatively easy time selling a fantasy novel. If not, I might have to rethink some things.

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Now, as sad as it may be for me that my favorite time of year has come to an end, the good news is that I still have Halloween this coming month, which is by far my favorite holiday.

On top of that, without the distraction of the Faire, I can now sit my butt down at my computer and return full blast to my writing. After all the ye olde fun, I feel recharged and my inspiration continuing to grow.

There’s a little side story that’s been growing in my head that I’ve wanted to put to paper involving the idea of the ren fair – or at least the one in my book that’s loosely based upon the one I attend. I call it a side story because it’s still associated with Nyte-Fyre and my two main characters but it takes place years before the actual start of the first novel. I actually have a number of these floating about my head that I have the intention of writing and publishing in a separate book of extra stories once the series is finished. That should be entertaining for the fans that I gather over the years it’s going to take me to fully pen this series. Until then, it’s fun and actually rather informative to me to explore these threads of back story on certain characters here and there. And a nice reprieve from the general writing of the series once in awhile.

For now, here’s to the writing that fall and winter is sure to be full of! Full steam ahead on book one editing with a brief pit stop to the land of NaNoWriMo.